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Failure To Appear

Artist Feature of Harlan Bozeman

Between 1915 and 1970, millions of Black Americans left the American South for northern cities to pursue economic and educational opportunities, a relocation commonly known as the Great Migration. My parents did not tell me about this history because it was not theirs. They did not desire to raise naive children who viewed the world as post-racial and, at the same time, did not want to introduce us to a history full of Black death. It was not until a decade later, into my 20s, that I began questioning my existence and its origin. Photography has become a portal to building knowledge around these questions.

“Failure To Appear” is an ongoing project of photographs and collaged works that began as a reaction to the emotional and physical burnout I experienced while creating work in the Arkansas Delta. Not aligning to any specific narrative or location, through a combination of photography and collage, time is compressed and expanded by manipulating the image and my archive. Known and unknown legacies and objects are recontextualized against my experience working in the American South and returning to academia.

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